In order to qualify for the Start-up Visa Program, you must:

  • Have a qualifying business
  • Have a letter of support from a Designated Organization
  • Meet the language requirements and
  • Have enough money to settle and live in Canada before you make money from your business

 What is the Start-up Visa Program?

The Start-up Visa Program is designed to boost the economy by inviting skilled and entrepreneurial immigrants to build their businesses in Canada. Your start-up must be able to innovate, generate jobs and compete on a global scale. 

What is a qualifying business?

Your business must meet all of the following criteria:

  • at the time you get a commitment from a Designated Organization:
    • each applicant hold 10% or more of the voting rights attached to all shares of the corporation outstanding at that time (up to 5 people can apply as owners) AND
    • applicants and the Designated Organization jointly hold more than 50% of the total voting rights attached to all shares of the corporation outstanding at that time
  • at the time you receive permanent residence:
    • you provide active and ongoing management of this business from within Canada
    • an essential part of the operations of the business happens in Canada
    • this business is incorporated in Canada

Proving business support

Before you can apply for the Start-up Visa Program, you must have the support of a Designated Organization – business groups that have been approved to invest in or support possible start-ups. The three kinds of Designated Organizations are (i) Venture Capital Funds, (ii) Angel Investor Groups, or (iii) Business Incubators. You just need support from one of these groups. They will provide you a letter of support, which you must include with your application.

The Designated Organizations choose which business proposals to review. Each organization has its own intake process for proposals and criteria used to assess them (i.e. you may be asked to present your business concept in person or submit a detailed business plan).

If a Designated Organization reviews your business idea, it will assess the potential of your proposal and whether or not it will succeed and will provide the letter of support if they decide to invest in your start-up.

Designated Venture Capital Funds

You must get at least one of these groups to agree to invest a minimum of CDN$200,000:

Designated Angel Investor Groups

 You must get one or more investors connected to these groups to agree to invest a minimum of CDN$75,000: 

Designated Business Incubators

You do not need to secure a financial investment from a business incubator but rather you must be accepted into one of these programs:

In order to get support from a Designated Organization, contact them directly and convince them that you have a business idea worth supporting. The process to pith your idea will be different for each organization as they each have their own requirements. The good news is that you do are not required to invest any of your own money. The investment required all must come from one of the Designated Organizations.

Do you have what it takes to launch an innovative start-up in Canada? If so, contact AllCleared to find out how we can help you with immigration to Canada.